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How much can you earn with Kindle indie publishing

Thanks to Amazon’s Kindle platform, many authors today dream of making millions publishing their own books.

And there is precedent for this. We’ve all seen news stories of authors who hit it big on Amazon, and were able to quit their jobs and bring in tens of thousands of dollars every month publishing their stories. They write for themselves, and they pocket most of the royalties.

This is more common than you might think. There are entire communities of self-published authors who you’ve never heard of who are pulling in this kind of money every month.

How likely is that? What are the odds that you can reap these kinds of rewards yourself? That is the million-dollar question.

For every author that is making it big on Amazon, there are probably a hundred authors who aren’t. Some of them are fine with just making a few dollars, while others are struggling to build the publishing careers that they have dreamed about.

Where does that leave you? Can you replicate their success, or are you destined to be one of the majority that don’t make a full-time living from Amazon’s platform?

The answer isn’t that simple. There are a lot of different factors that go into whether or not an author is successful on Amazon. Let’s talk about each of these factors and whether or not you can increase your chances of success.

The quality of your book

Depending on who you ask, this is either the most important or the least important part of your success.

I land somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, you’re going to have a very hard time publishing a bad book and hoping that it will lead to a full-time career in self-publishing. There’s a lot of competition for readers out there. If you write a bad book, you’re already going to struggle to make it.

On the flip side, you could write the best book in the world, but if you don’t market it appropriately, you’re never going to build a career from it. There are masterpieces on Amazon that authors have self-published that nobody has heard of. Why? Because the author did not approach their publishing like a business.

Gone are the days when all you had to do was write a quality book. This is especially true if you are self-publishing. While traditionally published authors can just focus on the quality of the book and let the publisher do the rest of the work, a self-published author will need to take charge of every step of the process.

So write the best book that you can. But don’t assume that that’s all you’ll need to do.

What genre are you in?

Simply put, there is more money in some markets versus other markets.

You might be tempted to look for a market that has no competition. Your thought process would be that you could dominate that market. But if nobody is looking for that particular kind of book, then you’re not going to do very well. Even if you have the number one ranked book in that genre, it won’t lead to that many sales.

But there are markets that are in high demand and can still be dominated by a new author. This is the case in the romance genre. The fact is, romance ebooks are big business. Even a new author in the romance genre can break through rather quickly simply because there are so many readers who are looking for romance, and they tend to devour their books at a much faster pace than other audiences.

So, what market are you writing in? Are you writing for an audience that is already there and eager for a new book? Or are you trying to draw a new audience to a new genre that doesn’t have much traction already? There’s not a wrong answer here, just know that you are making it harder on yourself if you choose an obscure genre.

In addition to that, you have to understand the market that you’re writing in. If you write for your market, using the tropes and expectations that the readers are already looking for, you will probably do well. But if you try to do something unique, you run the risk of turning off a large portion of your potential audience.

Do you have other books coming?

Most successful self-published authors have one thing in common: they write in series.

There’s a simple logic behind this. The more books you have out, the more assets you have that have the potential of attracting readers. An author with ten books is going to make more sales than an author with one book, simply due to volume.

But there’s another reason why authors who write in series do better than those who write one-off books. Readers want to stick with an author that they like. If that author has more books that they have published, then a reader knows that they can invest the time in a particular book. They know that the author is publishing more stories, and that allows them to invest more time.

If you want to maximize your success as a self-published author and learn as much as possible, one of the best tips I can give you is to write in series. Give your readers more of what they’re looking for, and give them a reason to stick with you.

Are you advertising?

Another thing that the full-time publishers on Amazon have in common is that they are actively advertising their books. Your main goal is to get eyeballs on your books, and that means investing time and money into promotion.

There are stories of authors who took low-cost routes and managed to build a successful audience. But for the most part, in some way, shape, or form, authors who are successful and earning the most on Amazon are investing in advertising.

Fortunately, there are tools that make advertising much easier in this day and age. Amazon has their own advertising platform where you can target readers of other books. Some authors swear by this method. Others are more focused on Facebook, a platform that knows far more about its users than any other platform online. By targeting the right readers, they are able to cut through the noise and get their books in front of people who have a high likelihood of buying their books.

And because they are already writing in series, they have built the lifetime value of their customer to a significant degree.

As you can see, there are a lot of different factors that go into whether or not you can earn a lot of money with Kindle indie publishing. When you decide to publish yourself, you take on each of these responsibilities. Yes, you can outsource them, but the successful authors don’t. They take the time to build their audiences themselves.

Along with that, they nurture their audience over time. They have email lists, active Facebook groups, and they invest time in building a bond with their readers. They know that every interaction with their readers is a chance to increase their loyalty and their sales.

In the end, earning money on Kindle really comes down to your approach to the business. And your publishing aspirations are part of a business. If you treat your endeavors professionally, you increase your chances of success.

If you want to approach publishing as a hobby, that’s completely fine. But then measure your expectations. Make sure that you are being realistic, because you are not going to make a full-time living as an author on Amazon if you aren’t treating your efforts like a business. Do so properly, and you have a much greater chance of success.